My weekend didn’t produce a post for Torah 101, so this is Monday Torah 101 for Christians! The season of Lent is a good time for Christians to delve into the Book of Exodus .
Have you ever wondered what Jesus meant at the well in Samaria (John 4) when he said to the woman:
“You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.”
The Jewish people trace their heritage back to Abraham in Genesis, the first book in the Torah and the first book of the Christian Bible. Christians see the suffering of the crucifixion. Tracing it to the actual meaning of Jesus’ spoken words at the Last Supper in the Gospels takes on a more transparent understanding upon seeing God’s requirements for the Tabernacle in the Desert. An example is the showbread required in the Tabernacle. Lechem ha-panim in Hebrew, literally, ‘bread of the face.’ (Twelve loaves placed before the Ark of the Covenant for the face of God to shine on the twelve tribes represented.) Understanding the sacrifices first required by God helps comprehend the crucifixion’s significance more clearly. We find the origin of Passover in the early chapters of Exodus.
Today’s Torah study ends the Book of Exodus, but if you enjoy the link provided for an online Torah experience, perhaps you will enjoy reliving the real first Passover online as a way to appreciate what Jesus’ friends and family experienced. A good student of the Bible realizes that Jesus often reminds us to pay attention to what is written in the Torah.
Vayakhel/Pekudei –Exodus 35:1–40:38
The Torah reading for this past weekend gave me great joy. Not because it was an exiting narrative, but because it told the true story of Moses calling the Israelites to assemble (Vayakehel) God’s first house of worship on planet earth and then accounted (Pekeudei) for every item used and created for the building and implementing worship! It is truly amazing to read how the people responded and to find the amount of wealth carried out of Egypt! We learn that God gives of His spirtual gifts here. Something we find in the early Church! The Book of Exodus concludes with these final words:
The Cloud on the Tabernacle
The cloud covered the Communion Tent, and God’s glory filled the Tabernacle. Moses could not come into the Communion Tent, since the cloud had rested on it, and God’s glory filled the Tabernacle. [Later], when the cloud would rise up from the Tabernacle, it [would be a signal] for the Israelites to move on, [and this was true] in all their travels. Whenever the cloud did not rise, they would not move on, [waiting] until the day it did. God’s cloud would then remain on the Tabernacle by day, and fire was in it by night. This was visible to the entire family of Israel, in all their travels.
~The Living Torah, Exodus 40:43-48
Instead of linking to teachings posted for last weekend, a song comes to mind. Although the video I am sharing is in the Temple instead of the Tabernacle in the desert, it comes with a piece of music composed and sung by Paul Wilber, a completed Jew. (One who has received Jesus Christ as his Messiah.). It gives a visual of items included in today’s Torah reading plus a timely reminder of why the season of Lent is forever entwined with our Jewish “family tree.”
When did the world first find out God’s name? Around 1440BC from Moses! It is litrally “I will be who I will be” or “I Am who I Am.” The “I Am” spoken of in the song above. The name was first given to Moses when he approched the burning bush in the desert, Exodus 3:14. It was there Moses is given the assignment to bring the Jewish people out of Egypt, and Moses asked God by what name he should call Him! Either link in this paragraph will take you to a passage in the Living Torah.
I encourage you to follow the hyperlinked words to understand the Jewish community’s thoughts on the holiness of God’s name. In this passage of Exodus 3, you learn that “YHVH,” pronounced in English (and seen in Hebrew in this post’s header) as Yahweh is the Tetragrammaton for God’s name and cannot be spoken out loud. I took Hebrew from a rabbi for a few years, and when I saw the Hebrew letters forming God’s name, I said Adonai. Some say, LORD.
I came across an online version of the Torah I have used for many years. A rabbi gave it to me when I came to interview him for radio at the torah academy where he was headmaster.
When he realized I had such a love for the Bible, he excused himself and went to a storage room containing worn out textbooks. He returned with a well-used Torah in tow. So, Rabbi gave me my first Living Torah by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, a gift more precious than gold! The Living Torah has excellent footnotes.
While I was Googling to search for torah teachings, I came across a link that read : “Did You Know Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan’s ‘Living Torah’ Is Online?- Hyehudi.org.” I followed the link given and there it was. The actual version of my orginal Torah. I was excited to find the online version includes the footnotes and links! Copied the link address which I share for you here and encourage you to start using it! https://www.hyehudi.org/know-rabbi-aryeh-kaplans-living-torah-online/
I hope you take some time this week to explore the Living Torah! It really is our God’s living word! If you listen to Paul Wilber’s wonderful worship song again think about what you’ve learned from scripture written about 1440 BC in the Book of Exodus and then read these words from the Book of John written about 85 AD:
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” ~ John 1:14
God bless you always,
© 2021 Nancy Montgomery – ORCatholic.com
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